Do you want to find new customers?
I meet many business owners who say this is the thing that most concerns them. After all, finding your next customer is not always easy. It’s hard work attracting new leads and encouraging someone to give your business a closer look.
Now if your advertising budget is limited, regular blogging is one of the best things you can do. Not only does it spread your message, it also builds your authority, attracts organic traffic and helps you engage up close with potential customers.
These 7 benefits explain how a business blog could attract your next lead:
1. Build relationships:
Blogging works exceptionally well if you’re selling a service or targeting other businesses owners.
If you’re a small business who’s selling a service, you are also selling yourself. And that means you need to convince potential customers to know, like and trust you. After all, in business we buy from people.
Through your blog you can establish your authority, gain like-ability and earn credibility by delivering examples of how you have helped others. What’s more, because B2B relationships frequently develop over time, regular blogging allows you to stay on the radar of target customers without appearing pushy.
This strategy has worked well for me. In fact I’ve attracted a number of customers who have decided to work with as a direct result of reading reading articles I’ve written.
2. Stimulate 2-way conversations:
To be successful in business you need to be able to listen. It’s no good assuming or second guessing what your customers want. You need to know for sure what they want.
The comment functionality of a blog is a brilliant tool. Always invite blog readers to comment. Ask them specific questions. Sow the seeds in the body of your post. And always reply. Some readers will add to the discussion. Others will ask questions. Either way it’s an invaluable social listening tool that will allow you to learn more about your target customer and find out what they want.
3. Attract organic traffic:
It follows that the more web traffic you attract, the more leads you’ll generate.
Search engines like Google love blogs. Blogs are frequently updated and deliver lovely fresh, relevant content.
Did you know around 55% of B2B professionals use blogs to locate information? Chances are if you want to find something, first thing you’ll do is Google it. Now if you’ve written posts that closely answer the questions your customers are asking, and you’ve naturally used the keywords they’re searching for, Google could send traffic your way. Cool
4. Gain social proof:
Have you noticed how humans gravitate towards popularity?
If you have social proof that your content is worthy of a read, you’ll attract more attention. Make it super easy for readers to share your content by placing social share buttons on your blog and encourage readers to tweet out or “like” your stuff. It seems authority through popularity is going to feature more heavily in Google’s algorithms which means if you succeed with social media, your search engine rankings could receive a boost too.
5. Grow your authority:
Customers don’t want to buy from peers. They want to buy from an authority.
So use your blog to grow yours.
As an specialist business owner you’ve accumulated knowledge that is uniquely yours. No one has the experience and insights you’ve acquired. Don’t be afraid to harness your personality and your uniqueness. After all it’s what makes your business special. Place a smiley picture in a prominent position. Tell readers a bit about you. Use conversational language, not business gobbledygook. Be real and approachable. It works.
6. Build your brand:
Information is now so readily available you don’t need to be fearful of giving away your trade secrets in a blog.
In fact, the more information you share, the more attractive you’ll become.
If you commit to helping and serve up useful content, who do you think your customer will turn to when they need your service? They won’t go to your tight-lipped competitor who’s made no effort to demonstrate what they know. Instead they’ll come to you.
So tell stories. Weave in case studies that showcase how you’ve helped customers who are similar to the ones you are trying to attract. Make your brand synonymous with the type of information and service your target customer expects.
7. Find that customer:
No it’s not a paradox!
Yes you should blog to help and share information for free. But in doing so you are also subtly soft selling. As you drip feed information to customers over time, you will find yourself providing the information your customer needs to make a sale easy.
And once you’ve built your authority, you’ll find customers naturally look to you for more detailed advice, and this is where you can offer paid for information product alongside your portfolio of services.
Is blogging guaranteed to deliver results?
Unfortunately not. There are some caveats. You need to:
- Know your customers – intimately: Create a customer avatar. Get clear on what they want to read. Don’t second guess. Find out. Ask questions, use research tools such as the Google Keyword Tool and question sites like Quora. Then use this insider information to deliver answers to the questions your customers are asking.
- Write smart content: Don’t be salesy. Solve problems. Entertain. Provide relevant content. Engage your target audience. Be helpful. Be useful. (You get the picture
- Create an editorial schedule: Avoid the temptation to post erratically. Give your posting continuity. Take your audience on a journey. Write content that supports your key products or services. Stay on task.
- Define your blog’s purpose: Get clear on your blogging goals. Are you driving sales? Making connections? Nurturing leads? Growing authority? Establishing brand? It could be a combination. Your purpose is important as it will influence the style and content of your blog as well as outlining how you will track it’s performance.
- Add value: You can’t perceive blogging as lazy writing. And I urge you against starting your blog if you don’t have a clear strategy. A poor blog can actually do damage to your business and your brand so if content creation is not your thing, consider outsourcing.
Now over to you.
How has blogging worked for your business? What do you do to make your blog stand out? What has stopped you starting a blog? Please join the conversation and let me know in the comments below.